HELEN KAPALOS. JOURNALIST. PRESENTER. FILMMAKER & PRODUCER OF A LIFE OF ITS OWN – THE TRUTH ABOUT MEDICAL MARIJUANA
MEDICINAL CANNABIS…. THE COMPLETE STORY
A life of its own – The truth about Medical Marijuana has screened on Netflix and SBS Australia
When I first decided to embark on this documentary, it wasn’t even a conscious decision. It just happened. At the time I was working as a senior reporter on the Sunday Night program for the Seven Network. I was assigned a story that would change the course of my life.
The story was about a 24 year old battling bowel cancer. His name was Dan Haslam and he lived in Tamworth (the home of country music). The story was receiving a lot of press attention, because Dan was using medicinal cannabis to not only relieve pain and nausea from chemotherapy, but he was also treating his cancer with cannabis oil.
What made things especially interesting is that he was encouraged down this path by his parents Lucy (a nurse) and Lou Haslam (a retired drug squad detective). They believed so strongly in the curative power of medicinal cannabis they felt the story needed to be shared with the broader community.
The story became the catalyst in launching a national campaign to legalise medicinal cannabis. Many families came forward to tell their story and it was a case of people ahead of politics. A grass roots campaign had gained the momentum of an avalanche within months.
A life of its own takes the story further. Compelled to do this without any editorial interference I made the decision to fund the film myself which allowed me to travel around Australia and throughout Israel – a country recognised as a world-leader in medicinal cannabis research and use.
What was found through interviews with medical practitioners, researchers and patients was remarkable and as it took on a life of its own, a new and more compelling story emerged about why we are still fighting to gain ready access to a plant acknowledged widely for its healing properties.